April 2017

Open Mike


Implementing Limits on Grant Support to Strengthen the Biomedical Research Workforce

Posted on May 2, 2017 by Mike Lauer

NIH realizes that, as stewards of the American investment in biomedical sciences, we must do all we can to protect the future of the biomedical research enterprise, taking additional measures regardless of our budget situation. In the opening pages of this blog, we noted that our increasingly hypercompetitive system is threatening the future of biomedical research and of the hundreds of thousands of scientists who we look to for discovering tomorrow’s cures. This is a strange irony, given that the last 25-50 years have been times of extraordinary discovery and progress in basic, translational, and applied science. Death rates from cardiovascular disease have plummeted, and death rates from cancer are falling steadily. Scientists have a much deeper understanding of human biology to the point where this knowledge can drive the design of drugs and biologics. Big data and high-throughput technologies now enable rapid development and testing of hypotheses that previously would have taken years. The successes are myriad. But so are the problems, problems so real that some have gone so far as to write, “It is time to confront the dangers at hand and rethink some fundamental features of the US biomedical research system.” …. Continue reading →

Certificates of Confidentiality for NIH Grants

Posted on April 28, 2017 by Mike Lauer

Earlier this year I wrote a post about the 21st Century Cures Act and its changes that directly affect the NIH. One part of this new legislation contains provisions to improve clinical research and privacy through certificates of confidentiality. Currently, certificates of confidentiality (or “CoCs”) are provided upon request to researchers collecting sensitive information about research participants. Soon, CoCs will be automatically provided for NIH-supported research, as set forth in the 21st Century Cures Act. …. Continue reading →

Applications, Resubmissions, and the Relative Citation Ratio

Posted on April 25, 2017 by Mike Lauer

Measuring the impact of NIH grants is an important input in our stewardship of research funding. One metric we can use to look at impact, discussed previously on this blog, is the relative citation ratio (or RCR). This measure – which NIH has made freely available through the iCite tool – aims to go further than just raw numbers of published research findings or citations, by quantifying the impact and influence of a research article both within the context of its research field and benchmarked against publications resulting from NIH R01 awards.

In light of our more recent posts on applications and resubmissions, we’d like to go a step further by looking at long-term bibliometric outcomes as a function of submission number. In other words, are there any observable trends in the impact of publications resulting from an NIH grant funded as an A0, versus those funded as an A1 or A2? And does that answer change when we take into account how much funding each grant received? …. Continue reading →

A Reminder of Your Roles as Applicants and Reviewers in Maintaining the Confidentiality of Peer Review

Posted on April 7, 2017 by Mike Lauer and Richard Nakamura

Imagine this: you’re a reviewer on an NIH study section, and receive a greeting card from the Principal Investigator (PI) on an application you are reviewing. A note written inside the card asks that your look favorably upon the application, and in return, the PI would put in a good word with his friend serving on your promotion committee. Do you accept the offer, or just ignore it? Or, do you report it? …. Or maybe several days after the initial peer review of your application, you receive a phone call from a colleague you haven’t spoken to in quite a while. The colleague is excited about a new technique you developed and wishes to collaborate. You realize the only place you’ve disclosed this new technique is in your recently reviewed NIH grant application. What do you do? ….Continue reading →

Top Stories

Getting Ready for the Next NIH Forms Update

From time to time we need to update our application forms to maintain consistency with Grants.gov and Office of Management and Budget federal-wide requirements, and to incorporate changes in NIH policies and processes. NIH issued a guide notice on April 27, announcing how we are gearing up for a transition from the current forms (“FORMS-D”) to the next iteration of forms for due dates on or after January 25, 2018. Highlights of the new FORMS-E will include: …. Continue reading →

New Resources

New “All About Grants” Podcasts on Application Appendix and Post-Submission Materials

Two new “All About Grants” podcasts focus on topics related to submitting your application. …. All About Grants podcast episodes are produced by the NIH Office of Extramural Research, and designed for investigators, fellows, students, research administrators, and others just curious about the application and award process. …. Continue reading →

Updated Resource for Clinical Regulations Across the Globe

NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) ClinRegs website provides clinical regulations for countries around the world. Since its initial release, the site has undergone several functionality upgrades to make the site easier to use. The updated site includes: a new interactive map on the homepage to provide a clearer picture of the countries included; hyperlinked table of contents on each country ….. Continue reading →

The NSD is seeking a Postdoctoral Associate to participate in the development and implementation of gas chromatographic techniques for the detection of hydrogen isotopes and impurities.  The main goal of the program is to refine the current techniques and build a prototype of a gas chromatograph for the desired application.  In this role, the Postdoctoral Research Associate will team with Scientists, Engineers, and Technologists within Savannah River National Laboratory.

The selected candidate will be involved in a team composed of scientists and engineers identifying potential opportunities to refine analytical methods mostly focused on gas chromatographic techniques.  The work will include synthesis of materials and surface characterization.  Development and validation of analytical methods is also needed.  The work might require collaborative efforts with other groups within SRNL.

Responsibilities include but not limited to:

  • Interpretation of data derived from experiments,
  • Participating in and informing the optimization of experimental conditions, and
  • Design appropriate setup and material(s) to obtain desired analytical separations.

Eligible applicants must:

  • Be a US Citizen,
  • Have earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry (preferably), Chemical Engineering, or Electrical Engineering; from an accredited university or college within the last 60 months, and
  • Be capable of obtaining a security clearance.

Successful candidates will have:

  • Strong knowledge and hands on experience in gas chromatography,
  • Thorough knowledge on materials synthesis and characterization methods,
  • Experience working in a fast-paced environment or on time-sensitive projects,
  • Experience with complex data analysis, and
  • Publication record on related topics.

It is desirable for the candidate to have:

  • Knowledge on MEMS.

For more information and to apply:

SRNL Postdoctoral Research Associate, National Laboratory/Weapons Technology Grouphttps://www.zintellect.com/Posting/Details/3273

The SRNL Postgraduate Research Associates Program is administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).

Dr. Tony Chen, director of the CEMN at PSU asked me to reach out to local universities and update them about the upcoming Physical Electronics Conference (PEC) conference for 2017.   We have filled all the exhibit tables and we are looking forward to all the great exhibits.  I wanted to let you know we are now offering special sponsorship levels to Oregon Universities.


I have attached sponsorship information to this email.  The registration fee for faculty is $425 and student registration is $240.  There are two options for university sponsorship that offer great value:


1) Basic Level: $1000 includes logo placement on website and all promotional material as well as complimentary registration for (1) faculty and (2) students.

2) Premium Level: $1500 includes logo placement on website and all promotional material as well as complimentary registration for (2) faculty and (unlimited) students.


This is will be the second time this conference will be held in Oregon, where previously The University of Oregon hosted back in 1997.  It would be great if we could get your sponsorship and attendance for this conference at Portland State University and support the growing Oregon science community. Please visit the website for more conference details.  I will try calling you again to discuss conference details and sponsorship and see if there are any questions.



Diane Scott, PhD




PEC 2017

The program is designed to expose graduate students to the business of technology transfer and intellectual property management at ORNL. It provides students with hands-on experience in technology assessment, marketing, and commercialization. Interns will intern with the ORNL Commercialization Managers in technology transfer full-time during the summer at ORNL, starting mid-May through mid-August 2017. During the internship, the students will participate in small, multi-disciplinary teams on technology transfer projects that may include technology and market assessment and the marketing of technologies for commercialization, and each student will be assigned a specific mentor. The application deadline is May 7th at 11:59 pm ET.


  • Stipend: $600/week paid bi-weekly – full-time required
  • $150/week housing allowance for students whose permanent address is 50 miles or more from Oak Ridge
  • One round trip (limited to $500 total) for students whose permanent address is 50 miles or more from Oak Ridge


  • Must be currently pursuing a graduate degree in science, engineering, or business at an U.S. accredited institution of higher education
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPRs are subject to DOE clearance approval for laboratory entry)
  • Must be 18 years of age
  • Must have a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.5/4.0 –  copy of academic record (official transcript will not be required) showing name, school name, current classes and GPA
  • Must have proof of medical insurance during appointment
  • Successful applicants will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement before joining the program
  • Submit two references

Selection Criteria

  • Strong technical background in the biological sciences, physical sciences, information technologies, or engineering preferred
  • Enthusiasm and willingness to take on new challenges
  • Ability to meet hard deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Must have written and verbal fluency in English
  • Demonstrated interest in technology transfer and intellectual property
  • Availability of 40 hours per week at ORNL

Additional information and interview may be required after initial review before selection is made.

Apply here: https://www.zintellect.com/Posting/Details/3257. For more information, visit Science Education Programs at ORNL or contact leslie.fox@orau.org.